Salem Radio line-up shifts Hugh Hewitt to morning drive

posted at 6:01 pm on February 8, 2016 by Ed Morrissey

Salem Radio Network, whose parent Salem Media Group also owns Hot Air, has had perhaps the most stable national network line-up in the business — but big changes are now afoot. My friend and mentor Hugh Hewitt, who has had his national profile skyrocket during the 2016 Republican presidential primary cycle, will move from his long-ensconced position on afternoon/evening drive to mornings, giving Hugh a head start on the news cycle. Bill Bennett, who had served in two Cabinet-level positions in the Ronald Reagan administration, will move into a “host emeritus” position focusing on special interviews and in-depth analysis.

Salem’s lengthy announcement covers the details of the move:

SRN simultaneously announced that Hugh Hewitt will move from his current 6pm-9pm ET time slot to the morning slot of 6am-9am ET vacated by Bennett. A replacement for Mr. Hewitt will be announced soon by SRN.

“Keeping Bill in the Salem family, doing what he loves to do, was very important to us and we have found the perfect opportunity,” said Salem Senior VP Phil Boyce. “Bill will be a huge contributor to the morning show going forward, and has already lined up some amazing interviews that will continue his legacy,” said Phil Boyce. Dr. Bennett is the only talk show host in America to be confirmed twice by congress as a cabinet member, first as Education Secretary and then as Drug Czar in the Reagan administration.

“I have greatly enjoyed and learned much in my eleven years as host of ‘Morning in America.’ Engaging in an illuminating and entertaining conversation with the American people has been one of the most enjoyable and rewarding episodes of my career,” said Dr. Bennett. “I now look forward to another phase of work with the Salem Radio Network. The seminars and in-depth discussions in our new ‘Making America Work’ series that we are planning for 2016 and beyond will write a new chapter in radio. I simply want to express my gratitude to Salem for its continued confidence in me and to my audience – the greatest radio audience in America – for its loyalty and its candor, intelligence, and goodwill,” said Dr. Bennett.

I’ve been on the air with Dr. Bennett, and on stage with him as well. I’ve always appreciated his intellectual approach to issues and his graciousness and friendly manner — and so have listeners. He’s great fun at live events, and thankfully I will have the chance to experience that in March at the 15th birthday dinner for Salem’s AM 1280 The Patriot station here in the Twin Cities, where I will serve as emcee while Hugh, Bill, Michael Medved, and Mike Gallagher discuss the upcoming election.  Even before writing at Hot Air, I was on the air at The Patriot as part of the Northern Alliance Radio Network. (We’ll be discussing Going Red and promoting the book at the event, too.)

Hugh was instrumental in getting us the NARN air time starting almost twelve years ago, of course, even though none of us had any affiliation to The Patriot except for being fans of SRN and Hugh himself. Hugh also promoted our blogs, as well as many other bloggers, being among the first national radio hosts to adopt blogging as a natural extension of conservative radio.

The move to mornings makes a lot of sense for Hugh, as does his coast-splitting time between Virginia and California. His reach has put him square into the national-media spotlight, and his sharp and incisive conservative commentary is sorely needed in the Beltway echo chamber. From his vantage point in the morning, Hugh can use that influence to drive the news cycle much more effectively. (Duane “Generalissimo” Patterson is staying put, both as producer and in Southern California.)

That  leaves the 6-9 PM slot open, and that will prove interesting. It will feature the first new person in the SRN line-up in years. Keep your eyes and ears open for more on this. In the meantime, we’ll get up early and have a first cup of coffee with our friend and mentor!

 


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Comments

Does that mean Mark Davis will no longer be pulling double duty on Friday’s?

cozmo on February 8, 2016 at 6:05 PM

Hewitt is one of the Amnesty boosters from way back, even before Morrisey, before 2006….

rightwingyahooo on February 8, 2016 at 6:06 PM

My SRN station has Hannity instead of Medved. I’d rather have Medved.

Not that it matters any more…I am not allowed to stream radio at work now.

22044 on February 8, 2016 at 6:07 PM

Well, Ed, I’m glad you are in agreement with this. However, I looked forward to Bill Bennett (along with Dennis Prager – my two favorites). When I was up early, Bennett was on my radio. I will miss him. I doubt anyone can replace Bennett – he had class, an incredibly good way of explaining things, was always calm – he is a rare bird in talk radio.

Maybe Bill wants to get out but he is such a cadillac guy.

MN J on February 8, 2016 at 6:09 PM

Mary Katherine?

Fallon on February 8, 2016 at 6:12 PM

Who? You mean that guy that looks like Clint Eastwoods boss in The Eiger Sanction?????

Indiana Jim on February 8, 2016 at 6:13 PM

In the meantime, we’ll get up early and have a first cup of coffee with our friend and mentor!

3 A.M. on the west coast? Don’t think so.

So long Salem.

MichaelGabriel on February 8, 2016 at 6:13 PM

It isn’t just the leftist media that promotes failing upwards.

lowandslow on February 8, 2016 at 6:14 PM

Wow, Bennett, Hewitt, Medved, Davis, you guys are some country clubbing weak tea sipping Rubio boosters, that’s for sure.

Why don’t you convince Jon Huntsman to run again and get it over with?

What about Linc Chaffee?

Cmon sweethearts, go for it.

rightwingyahooo on February 8, 2016 at 6:15 PM

I’m hoping that Larry Elder get the 6-9 PM slot.

hepcat on February 8, 2016 at 6:15 PM

Maybe Bill wants to get out but he is such a cadillac guy.

MN J on February 8, 2016 at 6:09 PM

I have no particular knowledge of how this all came about, but I’ve worked around and for Salem for more than a decade. They don’t push people out, as the longevity of their lineup attests. Bill’s going to be 73, and doing morning drive 5 days a week is a huge grind; knowing everyone, and seeing that he’s staying with Salem, I’m very sure Bill initiated this and wanted to ease back a bit. That’s just my observation, as I have no inside knowledge on this at all. The web side is a separate entity from the radio and publishing sides.

Ed Morrissey on February 8, 2016 at 6:18 PM

And yet Mike Gallagher still has a job in radio….the mysteries of the world never ceases to amaze.

HDFOB on February 8, 2016 at 6:20 PM

Hugh Hewitt. The ultimate “Meh.”

Edith Stifle on February 8, 2016 at 6:20 PM

Haven’t cared to listen to Hewitt for years. The voice of the establishment. Talks over his guests with boorish know-it-all-ism.

LilyBart on February 8, 2016 at 6:21 PM

SRN simultaneously announced that Hugh Hewitt will move from his current 6pm-9pm ET time slot to the morning slot of 6am-9am ET vacated by Bennett. A replacement for Mr. Hewitt will be announced soon by SRN.

So a guy who lives in California will no longer be heard by us here since that is 3am-6am. I barely catch Bennet in the slot when I’m getting off a graveyard shift, this seems more like a punishment than a reward. Seems like 6-9 would make more sense. How much news could he be “making” in the 3-6 hours of time difference in DC while everyone there is sleeping? Hugh would be getting off at midnight Eastern time, now he is starting at 6am Eastern time. Strange.

Blue Collar Todd on February 8, 2016 at 6:22 PM

Mary Katherine?

Fallon on February 8, 2016 at 6:12 PM

I might tune in for that.

LilyBart on February 8, 2016 at 6:23 PM

Mike Gallagher is awesome! Seems as if his life has not been easy lately, yet he is always a class act and is so good to his audience!

justonevictory on February 8, 2016 at 6:23 PM

Hugh Hewitt is from here in Ohio. He is so the gentleman with his Midwest charm. Brilliant mind as well

justonevictory on February 8, 2016 at 6:26 PM

Hugh,

Never to late to give researchers from the swift boat blog credit/hat tip for your Christmas in Cambodia story back in the day.

APACHEWHOKNOWS on February 8, 2016 at 6:33 PM

Ed, not a big deal but Bill has been pulling only 4 days for some time.

CWforFreedom on February 8, 2016 at 6:35 PM

For the average HA type High is Rinoish.

CWforFreedom on February 8, 2016 at 6:37 PM

That leaves the 6-9 PM slot open, and that will prove interesting. It will feature the first new person in the SRN line-up in years. Keep your eyes and ears open for more on this. In the meantime, we’ll get up early and have a first cup of coffee with our friend and mentor!

Well, Marco Rubio will need a new gig after he gets run out of the primary. Maybe he and Erick Erickson can pull a twofer.

Joseph K on February 8, 2016 at 6:37 PM

Salem Radio Network, whose parent Salem Media Group also owns Hot Air, has had perhaps the most stable national network line-up in the business

And most mediocre.

As in the lineup featured on the town’s 3rd AM news/talk station, the one that changes format every 6 months between news/talk, sports/talk, and redneck gospel. You know, the station that is directional away from town with 2 watts at night that at best gets a .2 in the Arbitrons?

ConstantineXI on February 8, 2016 at 6:39 PM

Good news for Hugh. Glad they’ll be keeping Bill Bennett in the mix. I rarely listen to talk radio, but these two gentleman are very valuable additions to the conservative media.

Jill1066 on February 8, 2016 at 6:39 PM

That leaves the 6-9 PM slot open, and that will prove interesting. It will feature the first new person in the SRN line-up in years. Keep your eyes and ears open for more on this. In the meantime, we’ll get up early and have a first cup of coffee with our friend and mentor!

The !Jeb Show!

ConstantineXI on February 8, 2016 at 6:40 PM

However the feedback, I wish you well, Salem.

vnvet on February 8, 2016 at 6:40 PM

Mary Katherine?

Fallon on February 8, 2016 at 6:12 PM

I’d like to see the conservative Noah Rothman.

/AYNBLAND

ShainS on February 8, 2016 at 6:44 PM

I think I listened to Hugh Hewitt once. Removed the station from memory.

Mr. Arrogant on February 8, 2016 at 6:49 PM

Dennis Prager and Michael Medved are the two best talk radio hosts.

Ringo on February 8, 2016 at 6:53 PM

If they’re going to move Bill, I wish they’d put Prager in his spot so I could listen to him on the way to work.

Kanga on February 8, 2016 at 6:58 PM

Medved has gotten way too GOPe “middle of the road” over the past couple of years. He’s always been a softly but lately it seems like he’s fulfilling the stereotype of the “moderate” who spends most of his time taking pot shots at his own side.

I’ve enjoyed Hewitt’s intellectual approach. I do tend to get bored with him after the first hour though and usually switch over to Savage.

I’m a late night person, so I’ll be listening to Hewitt during what’s “late night” to me.

Evening replacements … Savage, Levin, Jones?

Moron Labe on February 8, 2016 at 7:04 PM

giving Hugh a head start on the news cycle.

I think it’s more commentary on yesterday’s news than a head start on any given day’s news, Ed. Things don’t usually start hoppin’ til after 9am.

whatcat on February 8, 2016 at 7:09 PM

3 A.M. on the west coast? Don’t think so.

So long Salem.

MichaelGabriel on February 8, 2016 at 6:13 PM

Ditto.

WitchDoctor on February 8, 2016 at 7:21 PM

For the average HA type High is Rinoish.

CWforFreedom on February 8, 2016 at 6:37 PM

More like “total squish”.
But I don’t listen to politics in the morning anyway, so it’s no biggee to me. If I turn on the radio in the morning it’s a local station to catch the weather, some local news and hear some small talk/easy chat.

whatcat on February 8, 2016 at 7:24 PM

cozmo on February 8, 2016 at 6:05 PM

And will Mark start @ 8am C ?

pambi on February 8, 2016 at 7:37 PM

I like Hugh, but stopped listening to him when it became obvious through his RINOubio support that he was unbeaten in his ability to like and push RINOs who never had even a snowball’s chance in h*ll to win.

Looking forward to a real conservative in the afternoon slot.

Da Cajun on February 8, 2016 at 7:39 PM

I enjoy Hugh. He’s the definition of Establishment in a lot of ways. But he gets the grassroots.

K. Hobbit on February 8, 2016 at 7:49 PM

That leaves the 6-9 PM slot open,…. Maybe for Steve Deace?

locomotivebreath1901 on February 8, 2016 at 8:11 PM

Crap… 790 in Houston insists on putting a local guy on during drive-time.

Critic2029 on February 8, 2016 at 8:14 PM

And yet Mike Gallagher still has a job in radio….the mysteries of the world never ceases to amaze.

HDFOB on February 8, 2016 at 6:20 PM

This!

Actually the Salem line-up pretty much sucks. I do appreciate Hugh’s interviews with authors – he’s very well read. But Gallagher and Medved…

Hill60 on February 8, 2016 at 8:20 PM

Could The Ed Morrissey Show adjust its schedule to be available 6-9 pm EST?

wren on February 8, 2016 at 9:30 PM

The !Jeb Show!

ConstantineXI on February 8, 2016 at 6:40 PM

Yep. I’d pay to see the look on Hewitt’s face if Trump wins.

WhirledPeas on February 8, 2016 at 9:37 PM

Does that mean Mark Davis will no longer be pulling double duty on Friday’s?

cozmo

That was the first question that popped up in this Dallas, Texas boy!

E9RET on February 8, 2016 at 9:39 PM

Results Management

APACHEWHOKNOWS on February 8, 2016 at 9:45 PM

Wait..Philadelphia has Mark Levin from 6:00 to 9:00 PM and Hugh Hewitt from 9:00 PM to 12:00 AM. What’s happening with Levin?

Pilgrimsarbour on February 8, 2016 at 10:59 PM

Could The Ed Morrissey Show adjust its schedule to be available 6-9 pm EST?

wren on February 8, 2016 at 9:30 PM

…it is pretty good…I used to listen when I had a chance.

JugEarsButtHurt on February 8, 2016 at 11:01 PM

Dennis Prager and Michael Medved are the two best talk radio hosts.

Ringo on February 8, 2016 at 6:53 PM

Of all the Salem guys, Medved is the most condescending twit! Agreed on Prager, though I thought Bennett was better.

I’m really, really going to miss Bennett as host! but I felt this com
ing for a while now.

Ricard on February 8, 2016 at 11:34 PM

Hewitt will be done before I get up in Ca. Bummer.

keioki on February 9, 2016 at 12:20 AM

What about Mark Steyn in the 6-9 pm slot?

Blaise on February 9, 2016 at 7:24 AM

Not sure I like this move.
In mountain time zone, we will have to call into the show between 4 and 7 AM, and on the west coast, even earlier.

Not sure if they will air live in Colorado, or delay ’till later in the morning to match our morning commute.

PunditPete on February 9, 2016 at 7:25 AM

Disappointment for me personally. I’m East Coast, but my station carries a local morning show instead of Bennett. (It’s not a Salem O&O.) Good for Hugh, though.

As for his replacement… Count me as a vote for Mary Katherine, or possibly a “Young Guns” show with her & Guy. I’ve enjoyed them as fill-ins for Hugh. Or, maybe they’ll give Ed the slot. :)

chargeradiodan on February 9, 2016 at 10:04 AM

Hugh Hewitt has the signature habit of saluting his guest in every question: “Ed Morrissey! Tell us how you got started stamp-collecting!” Or “Mark Steyn! Civil War numismatics, is it for everyone?”

OK, I made that up. I like HH for his mild-mannered bespectacled wonkishness. It makes me wonder why we have never seen him and Superman together…

virgo on February 9, 2016 at 11:01 AM

I stopped listening to bennett a year ago because I got tired of his condescending, elitist, inside the beltway, establishment attitude and I suspect a lot of people did the same resulting in this “host emeritus” appointment. So they are replacing him with a condescending, elitist. Should work out well. Mark Davis was part of my growing tired of that show, by the way, his only talent being able to take all positions on a subject within a 20 second sound bite. As a young man I thought most conspiracy theories were just silly because I didn’t think it was possible to have so many people be involved and keep a secret. But as I’ve watched the media and democrat party work in concert throughout my adult life and read Witness by Whitaker Chambers, I am no longer a skeptic. I think it is not coincidence that a group of guys considered the “conservative intellectuals” (bennett,krauthammer,medved) are not so intellectual, are not conservative and seem to lead the attacks on real conservatives. All are former liberals who made their “conversions” around the same time. I also suspect that many of the so called “Reaganites” who worked in the administration and who now attack anyone who evenly closely resembles Reagan, were actually people brought into that administration by the bush forces and aren’t true Reaganites.

peacenprosperity on February 9, 2016 at 12:36 PM

I don’t see how this is going to work. Not only will Hugh be on before most of the country wakes up, but before the guests he wants to interview have their first cup of coffee.

J Baustian on February 9, 2016 at 1:20 PM

I will miss Hugh on my ride home from work. Guess I won’t be able to hear him in the mornings since I get in my car at 6 in CA.

I would love to have Laura Ingraham on in Hugh’s old spot.

californiacitizen on February 9, 2016 at 3:23 PM